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Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me: 7th Edition [Paperback]

Paula Begoun , Bryan Barron
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (139 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan. 4 2008 Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me
For women who want to make wise cosmetic and skin-care decisions, look beautiful and save money, Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter without Me is a must-have, written by the only person serving as a "watchdog" of the ever-increasing $40-billion cosmetics industry. In this completely updated edition, Paula Begoun offers straightforward, specific product evaluations and an easy-to-use rating system. Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter without Me helps women find products that make them look great without spending a fortune. It's the only book to cut through the "hype" and get straight to the facts about which products work and which are a waste of money. From drugstores and home shopping to department stores and catalogues, Begoun reviews all the major cosmetic and skin-care lines, product by product (more than 30,000 products in all). Regardless of the price tags, there are good and bad products in almost every line--and with the turn of a page, readers can get concise reviews and fast answers. A user-friendly rating system makes it easy to find items worth trying.

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Women spend an extraordinary amount of money on cosmetics--$45 billion a year in the U.S. alone. Now in its fourth edition, Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me strikes fear in cosmetics-counter consultants everywhere. First off, Begoun has deconstructed ingredient lists. Ever wonder what methylparaben, propylparaben, and butylparaben are doing in your mascara? And what is diazolidinyl urea? All four are potential irritants, and the latter is a preservative that can release formaldehyde, a class A carcinogen. Buyer beware.

Begoun also lists which companies are cruelty-free and which continue to conduct animal testing. The majority of the book--and that's nearly 800 pages--is devoted to reviews of thousands of cosmetics, from cleansers, foundations, alpha-hydroxy acids, and moisturizers to lip liners, eye shadows, and concealers, all of which Begoun has personally tested. (There are no hair care products listed, as that warrants another book entirely: Don't Go Shopping for Hair Care Products Without Me.)

She's perfectly frank and tells it like it is. (On Revlon's ColorStay Makeup: "goes far beyond the claim of 'It won't come off on him.' It won't come off when you want it to.") You'll learn how to tell when you're being boondoggled by a salesperson, what's overpriced and overhyped, as well as what's overlooked. More than 200 brands are included, along with a helpful summary at the end that lists the best products for each cosmetic category. It should be noted that not only is Begoun a fine consumer advocate, she's also a self-esteem advocate: she mentions time and again that even the best cosmetics won't necessarily improve your life, and that's a point well taken. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

PAULA BEGOUN (Seattle) has been reporting on the beauty industry for more than 25 years. Her unique angle on the cosmetics industry has earned her nicknames such as "The Ralph Nader of Rouge" and the "Cosmetics Cop." She is an internationally recognized authority as a consumer advocate for the cosmetics and hair-care industries and appears regularly on television and radio and in magazines. Begoun has a syndicated column with Knight-Ridder News Tribune Service and has appeared on CNN, Oprah, 20/20, ABC's Primetime, Dateline NBC, the View, the Today Show, CBS This Morning and Good Morning America.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply the best March 30 2003
I am amazed at some of the reviews which demonstrate that some alleged readers didn't read the book very carefully at all. Paula clearly admits that the reviews in her book are her opinions. However, I've been reading her books for over a decade, and her opinions are based on solid, thorough, scientific research NOT funded by anyone other than herself. I don't know of another book that can make that claim. She mixes her opinions with facts that few others dare because she has nothing to lose in the process. When she tells the truth, we all benefit. Articles in women's magazines stand to lose an enormous amount of advertising revenue if any editorials threaten to blow Estee Lauder, Lancome, Clinique, Maybelline, or any cosmetics company that spends literally millions of dollars in ads off their solid gold pedestals. Paula also states quite clearly that if a certain regime or product works for the consumer, then the consumer should stick with it.
However, for the rest of us who need guidance in choosing what is best for our skin and make-up routines, this book is a godsend. She rates products on the ingredients they contain, their effect on the skin, and how well they work. She never claims that all products purchased in a drugstore are as good as those purchased at expensive prices in department stores. She freely acknowledges some poor products that are inexpensive do exist. And she also acknowledges that some poor products which are expensive also exist. In other words, the price of the cosmetic has nothing to do with its effectiveness, safety, or application.
What this book really does is give facts to help the consumer separate fact from fiction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars This will change how you shop June 14 2004
By Maggie
This book will change how you shop for cosmetic products.
I am not a very girly-girl and find cosmetic shopping to be more than a little baffling. (I mean really! Does anyone actually NEED $300 skin cream?!?)
Paula is like the girlfriend that everyone needs. She walks you through what all of the products do, so if you don't know why people buy toner, she explains it to you. And she tells you what to look for when you do decide to buy the stuff.
It doesn't feel like she's plugging any specific line of products (except for her own brand, but what do you expect?) and you are given good options in every price range. So, if you are dying to spend $300 on a product, go ahead. If you want to know what the $9.99 equivalent is, she tells you that too.
As a self-confessed lip-balm addict, this was the section that I found most helpful. She explained what ingredients you should make sure are NOT in your lipbalm, as certain ingredients actually make your lips worse! This segment alone made the whole book a worthwhile purchase for me.
Highly, highly recommended, for everyone from your grandmother, to any young teen girls just entering the land of cosmetics. I wish I'd had this book when I just started out.
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5.0 out of 5 stars If I only knew before I spent all that money!!!! May 31 2004
I discovered Paula's book while in a bookstore just browsing through the shelves. I had just forked over big bucks for a popular skincare line and I was curious to see how she would rate it. She hated it! But I didn't take her opinion very seriously, until after I started using it. My skin went into total havoc and I was so upset that I had spent almost 80 dollars on cleanser, toner, and moisturizer that did everything it WAS NOT supposed to do. I HAD been duped...I ended up going back to the counter and telling them my experience with their products. I haven't been back since! So I ended up at Paula's website. I only use two of her products (2% Beta Hydroxy solution and the Blemish Control lotion) for almost 2 years now...and go to other brands for everything else but my skin is amazing now! I always "cross it with Paula" before I buy anything at the cosmetics counter, from make-up to what ingredients I should avoid because of my oily skin. I appreciated that her book didn't push her products. She balances her opinion...and she doesn't only use her own products either.
I highly highly highly recommend this book. You will never fall for the "counter schpiel." you'll be informed on what you can put on your face and most likely know more than the counterperson does!
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Wow, what an amazing book! It's chock-full of information on THOUSANDS of skin care and makeup products. The reviews are organized by product line, and you will find everything from celebrity indulgences like La Mer to department store staples like Lancome to mass merchandisers like Maybelline to drugstore bargain brands like Wet -n- Wild. At the start of the book, Paula describes exactly how she evaluates and rates the products. Although she hasn't personally tested every product (some of her recommendations are based mainly on the product's ingredients), with her makeup reviews in particular, the extremely specific nature of her comments makes it clear that she's actually tried the many of the items. She includes her own line, Paula's Choice, in her reviews, but other than recommending her products (along with many others), I didn't feel that she was self-advertising. I also found her general information on skin care to be very helpful--for example, I now have a much better understanding of the different factors involved in acne prevention. Similarly, her explanations and glossary vastly increased my knowledge of various ingredients and product claims, such as the difference between AHAs and BHAs, the truth behind terms like "non-comedegenic," and the usefulness of miscellaneous exotic contents. I believe that this book has made me a much more informed consumer: I am now better able to read product labels and to select the best product for my needs. I particularly like the "Paula's Picks" feature, and I definitely plan to try some of her recommendations. An indispensible and unique reference book!
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Most recent customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars New Edition has no ingredient lists
This Cosmetics Guide used to have a complete list of cosmetics ingredients which she refers to in her reviews of cosmetics section. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Anne Wellington
4.0 out of 5 stars Great reference book you will find handy
Fairly comprehensive review of a broad range of products with a healthy dose of wit and sarcasm which makes an entertaining read. Read more
Published on Dec 28 2010 by maximany
1.0 out of 5 stars huge conflict of interest
This woman has zero scientific background. She has a history of lying about her products (unstable sunscreens, etc. Read more
Published on Oct. 9 2010 by sceptic
5.0 out of 5 stars Readings saved me a lot of money!
I read very thoroughly the products suggested for my skin type (be sure to read carefully as you may see notes for instance that even if a product is for oily skin it tends to cake... Read more
Published on Sept. 22 2010 by Mrs. C.
2.0 out of 5 stars Don't Go to the Cosmetics Counter Without Me: Eighth Edition
all in all, i think a person would be better to get info about this type of stuff from periodicals, as the book leaves many items and brands out, and seems to be significantly... Read more
Published on July 12 2010 by J. Best
5.0 out of 5 stars Great value
She has helped save me a lot of money! Do I agree with everything she has to say. Not always, but her book gives me a strong foundation with it comes to the beauty industry. Read more
Published on April 5 2010 by Lady Red
4.0 out of 5 stars she is amazing
I have been reading Paula's books for years, and have been a industry pro in hair/make-up/skin care for over 15 years. She is on the money. Read more
Published on Dec 17 2009 by S. Hilts
5.0 out of 5 stars "Bible" for Beauty Junkies!
I've read Paula's book for about 10 years now. This new edition is great! Be sure to read the beginning of the book before reviewing the reviews - gives you a better background. Read more
Published on April 13 2008 by Shepherdess Extraordinaire
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Resource and Information on Certain Products
I have a love/hate relationship with this book. Often when I'm looking into buying a certain product and I really want it, I am hoping Ms. Read more
Published on July 17 2007 by Amy VG
1.0 out of 5 stars want a good book for skin care then don't read this book
I have researched and read many books on this subject and I don't presume to write a book on the subject like this author does. Read more
Published on Jan. 6 2007 by Rebecca L
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